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Plastic Planet - Movie Review of Plastic Planet - 2009

Living the Plastic Life


Plastic Planet - Movie Review of Plastic Planet - 2009

Plastic Planet - Plastic is Everywhere

First Run Features
In Plastic Planet, Austrian filmmaker Werner Boote follows the plastics trail around the globe to interview manufacturers, chemists, economists, environmental activists and physicians, and to visit landfills and cruise the seas to investigate the effects and the impact of our ubiquitous use of the synthetic material. Boote, whose grandfather was a prominent plastics manufacturer, is on a personal quest to find out whether the convenience and cheap cost of plastics outweighs the hazards they present for the environment and to public health.

Plastic is Here, There and Everywhere

It's hard to imagine the modern world without plastic. We encounter the synthetic material in every corner of our material lives and landscapes: in our closets, pantries, offices, heavy machinery, vehicles, hospitals, sports equipment, armaments, furniture and toys. Plastic is so prevalent, we hardly notice it.

Except, that is, when it appears where it clearly doesn't belong. Blowing through our forests, farmlands and deserts, for example, and flushing into our oceans and sources of fresh water.

And, by the way, it's also in our blood. Yes, most of us have traces of plastic coursing through our veins, competing for space among the platelets.

That is perhaps the singularly most alarming bit of information brought to light in Plastic Planet. Boote takes us on a beautifully filmed journey to plastic-jammed landfills and plastic-strewn deserts, but it's the effective graphics showing little yellow plastic beads bouncing around our circulatory system that will stick in your mind when you next reach for a bottle -- a plastic bottle -- of supposedly pure spring water. You need this information for your own safety and well being.

A Balanced View

Plastic Planet - Title

First Run Features
But it would be wrong to cast Boote as a plastics-hater.

Actually, the filmmaker shares his very fond memories of the colorful plastic playthings he received from his beloved grandfather, who was a pioneer in plastics manufacturing, and recognizes the positive contributions plastics have made to our lifestyle in this, the age of plastics. Boote also dutifully interviews John Taylor, former president of PasticsEurope, who preaches about the positive attributes of the plastics industry by pointing out the wide range of excellent products that enhance our lives, and quoting impressive statistics about the vast numbers of workers employed by plastics manufacturers, marketers and end user industrialists. Taylor also makes the argument that the glut of plastic waste that's currently clogging our environment has not been created by plastics makers, but rather by consumers who don't properly dispose of used plastic products.

That may be true, but what about the plastic in our blood?

On balance, the evidence that Boote presents -- mostly as highly credible testimony from chemists, environmentalists, physicians and public health officials -- indicates that plastics and our reliance upon them do present serious threats to the future of our environment and our species. Again, this is information you need for your own safety and well being. It is in your interest to see this film and become aware of the ways in which you and our society at large use plastics. You probably won't be able to stop using plastic products, but you'll handle them quite differently after seeing Plastic Planet.

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Film Details:

  • Title: Plastic Planet
  • Director: Werner Boote
  • Release Date: January 14, 2010 (USA, limited)
  • DVD Release Date: April 12, 2011
  • Running Time: 99 mins.
  • Parents Advisory: Advisory for content
  • Locations: Austria, Belgium, China, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Morocco, UK, USA
  • Language: English and German with English subtitles
  • Production Company: Neue Sentimental Film GmbH/Brandstorm Entertainment AG
  • Distribution Company: First Run Features
  • Official Website
  • Trailer

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